Executive Search: Chief Financial Officer for The Minikahda Club

                                                                           

    Chief Financial Officer
The Minikahda Club
    Minneapolis, MN

The Club

Located minutes from downtown Minneapolis, MN, The Minikahda Club is much more than a collection of amenities. The Club experience is focused on providing superior social and recreational experiences based on the values of family, fellowship, integrity, respect, and inclusiveness.

Founded in 1898, The Minikahda Club is the oldest country club west of the Mississippi and a premier club in the region. The City of Minneapolis has grown up around Minikahda. A group of young picnickers were so impressed by the spot they found atop a hill overlooking Lake Bde Maka Ska, they acquired the land and set out to form a club for social functions and golf. The name Minikahda comes from the Dakotah, a combination of two words meaning, “by the side of the water.” The Club logo, in fact, depicts a Native American shield, similar to the artifact framed in the Clubhouse.

The Minikahda Club is a year-round full-service club with a vast offering of social, dining and sport activities. The Club has approximately 1,275 members, comprised of approximately 475 families and a single class of membership. From a financial standpoint, the Club is debt-free, has a substantial reserve fund, a waiting list for membership and is well positioned for success.

The historic Donald Ross designed golf course has played host to a number of major events including the 1916 US Open, the 1927 US Amateur, the Walker Cup in 1957, the Women’s Amateur in 1988, the Curtis Cup in 1998, and the US Senior Amateur in 2017. The course is ranked among the best in the state by Golf Digest and was ranked #102 in Golfweek’s Top classic courses in 2020.

In 2018, the classic Ross designed golf course was re-grassed, and the golf shop was replaced with a new building that provides a year-round practice facility. A modernized pool snack bar and a new lakeside bar on the second floor of the Clubhouse was also added at the same time.  Currently, the Club is in the process of developing a long-term strategic and facilities master plan.

Members enjoy a variety of racket sports including tennis and paddle tennis. The tennis and paddle tennis programs are designed to appeal to newcomers and seasoned players alike.  A full calendar of clinics, mixers, and socials provides ample opportunities to meet new players and make new friends.

The pool is a very popular member amenity enjoyed by all from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Located on the edge of a hill with breathtaking views of Lake Bde Maka Ska and downtown Minneapolis, members enjoy swimming programs, relaxation and dining poolside.

At the heart of Minikahda is the beloved 60,000 square foot Clubhouse.  The Club offers multiple dining rooms for every gathering, from the formal Dining Room and intimate patio overlooking Lake Bde Maka Ska, to a family friendly Grille as well as 1898, the newly added adult-only bar with beautiful views of the lake and downtown Minneapolis. Multiple outdoor terraces and a deck with spectacular views highlighted by incredible cuisine prepared by our culinary team are all part of why Minikahda members and guests consider The Minikahda Club one of the best places to dine in the Twin Cities.  The Club also boasts a beautiful ballroom for significant life or member events. Indoors, outdoors, big or small, whatever the need, we are humbled and honored to serve our members and guests.

The Minikahda Club Overview:

  • 1,275 Members (approximately 475 families)
  • Initiation Fee: $75,000
  • Annual Dues: $10,000
  • $10.5M Gross Volume
  • $5.5M Annual Dues
  • $5.2M Gross Payroll
  • $3.2M F&B Volume pre-COVID-19
  • Peak Season: 300 Employees; Off-season: 120 Employees
  • 13 Board Members
  • Average age of members is 52

The Chief Financial Officer Position:

The Club is seeking an accomplished Chief Financial Officer who will report to the Chief Operating Officer/General Manager.

The CFO manages the financial operations of the Club, supervises the accounting functions, and provides analytical support to the COO/GM, Board of Directors, Business Operations Committee, and others for planning, budgets, and solutions to business problems.

The CFO recommends, implements, and maintains the Club’s financial plans and policies, its accounting practices, fiscal records, and the preparation of financial reports. The CFO makes decisions in accordance with Club policy on administrative or operational matters and ensures the operations’ effective achievement of objectives.

The Chief Financial Officer will be responsible for the following:

  • Recommend and implement policies to control and coordinate accounting, auditing, budgets, taxes and related activities and records; develop, establish, and administer procedures and systems pertaining to financial matters. Responsible for the Club’s internal controls and compliance to same.
  • Prepare financial statements, forecasts, and analysis for all administrative and managerial functions. Maintain all accounting records; develop, analyze, and interpret statistical and accounting information.
  • Manage the annual audit.
  • Evaluate operating results for costs, revenues, budgets, policies of operation, trends, and increased profit possibilities. Attends bi-monthly Business Operations Committee meetings to provide the committee a report of the monthly and year-to-date Club finances.
  • Responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of all accounting and information systems support; for the administration, management, and maintenance of the equipment systems employed in the collection of information and for the training and supervision of staff related, but not limited, to the Administration department.
  • Development, analysis, and interpretation of statistical and accounting information in order to appraise operating results in terms of profitability, performance against budget, and other matters bearing on the fiscal soundness and operating effectiveness of the organization.
  • Responsible for evaluating the performance of several personnel in the Administration department. This individual recommends training requirements, has the duty to keep the staff at the highest level of skill necessary to meet Club needs and objectives.
  • Establishes major economic objectives and policies for the Club and prepares reports that outline the Club’s financial position in the areas of income, expenses, and earnings based on past, present, and future operations.
  • Coordinates and directs the preparation of the budget, business plan, and financial forecasts; institutes and maintains other planning and control procedures; and analyzes and reports variances. The Club performs in a fiscal year beginning April 1 of each year.
  • Responsible for tax planning and compliance with all federal, state, and local corporate, payroll, and other applicable taxes.
  • Furnishes internal reports, revises, and updates reports to be more useful and efficient, and furnishes external reports as necessary.
  • Evaluates and recommends insurance coverage for protection against property losses and potential liabilities.

Candidate Profile:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, with a concentration in accounting.
  • Five to seven years of professional accounting experience with at least two years as Controller, not-for-profit experience is an asset.
  • Excellent management, leadership, analytical, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to design and implement a control reporting system. Experience in systems integration, flowcharting, documentation, and key control analysis required.
  • Experience overseeing the information technology operation and electronic data transfer between systems. Currently the Club uses the ForeTees Business Platform.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures or governmental regulations.
  • Knowledge and understanding of retirement plans and benefit programs.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available immediately.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.

Inquiries

Interested candidates should submit résumés along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by Wednesday, March 1, 2022.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Minikahda Club CFO Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Minikahda Club CFO Resume”) respectively to: execsearchus@ggapartners.com. Please email résumé with references.

Lead Search Executive

Patrick DeLozier
Managing Director
GGA Partners™
(843) 707-5210
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

For more information about The Minikahda Club, please visit www.minikahdaclub.org.

Labor, Capital Spending Top 2022 Budgets

Budgeting for 2022 is complicated by rapidly changing circumstances and market conditions. GGA Partner Henry DeLozier offers insight into areas where budgetary impact will be greatest. 

Budgeting for 2022 is complicated by rapidly changing circumstances and market conditions. For most experienced hands, anticipating changes within their industry and business is far easier than predicting the breadth and depth of the impact the changes will have on their budgets. Here are two significant categories where budgetary impact will be greatest:

1. Labor costs

Historically, the cost of labor and employee benefits represent the largest line item in a golf course’s operational budget. A trend toward a $15-plus per hour minimum wage and desperately low labor supply conditions will only increase the budgetary impact of labor and benefits. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting impacts on labor, two truths are becoming evident:

  • Those clubs and courses that kept staff on the payroll and continued long-term relationships with their employees are being rewarded in two ways. First, those courses are not having to search a tight labor market for replacements. Second, course care and upkeep have been sustained by committed and knowledgeable employees who have a running head start on those clubs that have been forced practically to start over.
  • Working knowledge of your specific course and conditioning expectations promotes a more cost-effective recovery process.

But what if circumstances and decisions beyond your control have forced you into a game of agronomic catch-up? Here are some remedial actions to consider:

  • Update your agronomic plan to state your expectations for course conditioning. New employees need (and want) to understand what is expected of them. Be thorough. Be enthusiastic. Show how much you care.
  • Plan for robust new hire training. Pair experienced hands with newcomers. See that the veterans describe the values and standards of the work to be done with the same clarity and as enthusiastically as teaching the job’s “how to” components. Train the trainers to ensure across-the-board engagement and understanding. Plan daily technical training for your round-up sessions to bring new hires up to speed and promote consistency.
  • Hire veterans. There are approximately 19 million veterans in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As the increasing number of veterans mustering out of service expands, many trained and mature workers are searching for jobs. Some three-quarters of these veterans saw wartime service. Take the steps to learn more about those who have given so much and see how much they can give to your operation.

2. Capital maintenance

Capital spending for most golf facilities has expanded decidedly as an improving economy loosened purse strings and made more money available for deferred capital maintenance spending. Financial analysts at our firm note that capital spending is up by more than 55 percent at U.S. golf facilities, with most projects focusing on course renovations and restorations of historic designs, greens reconstruction and new bunker projects.

With the upsurge in golf’s popularity in the wake of the pandemic, many facilities have experienced growth in rounds played and membership enrollments. According to Golf Datatech, rounds played in 2020 increased by 13.9 percent over 2019 and through the first quarter of 2021 are up another 24 percent. The increased demand for tee times has given owners and managers new confidence to expand facility spending.

What are the smart moves being made by superintendents? They’re updating capital project rosters and renewing long-awaited requests for capital to upgrade facilities. And they’re not waiting. They’re describing the features and benefits of the intended projects and supporting financial projections with trustworthy third-party analysis.

In these uncommon times, it is important for turf pros to remember the sun does not shine on the same dog’s back every day. Market demand will shift. Access to labor will change. But the self-imposed high standards for most superintendents will remain and the expectations of enthusiastic golfers will expand. Prepare your 2022 budget carefully and with a broader understanding of social, economic and market conditions.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

GGA Partners and USGA to Collaborate on Golf Course Superintendent Executive Search and Placement Services

New offering combines organizations’ expertise to improve golf facilities’ ability to deliver better playing conditions and enhanced golfer experience

BLUFFTON, S.C., and LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (April 14, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) will join with GGA Partners (GGA), an international consulting firm, to launch a new service to place top-notch golf course superintendent candidates at facilities across North America.

As part of its suite of advisory services, GGA has long provided executive search services for facility clients. The collaboration will expand the company’s offerings, with the USGA Green Section’s agronomic and maintenance expertise serving as key factors in targeting the unique needs of each golf course and identifying superintendents with matching skills who can help facilities elevate playing conditions, improve course presentation and foster sustainable practices.

“For any golf facility, the ability to hire the right talent is crucial for long-term success, and we believe in creating and maintaining partnerships with facilities,” said Patrick DeLozier, GGA’s managing director of executive search. “The stakes are higher than ever for facilities looking to hire superintendents, and they are looking for candidates with a wide variety of skills.”

Added Craig Johnston, a GGA partner: “The ability to complement our services in strategy, facility governance, finance and operations with the USGA’s agronomic strength will ensure that we can continue to support our clients with the gold standard in best practices, education, innovative products and research.”

The collaboration will allow the USGA to expand its reach and enhance its ability to inform best management practices for golf course maintenance, including resource prioritization. As part of its mission to champion and advance the game, the USGA is helping to ensure a sustainable game in which course managers are empowered to create a positive experience for their golfers.

“GGA’s values and business areas are strategically aligned with our mission,” said Matt Pringle, managing director of the USGA Green Section. “With this new joint service, we can find the best match between the needs of the golf course and the skill set of their next superintendent, while providing ongoing support to deliver outstanding playing conditions and improved golfer satisfaction.”

The joint service will utilize the USGA’s nationwide network of agronomists, whose extensive knowledge of the facilities and superintendents in their regions will be pivotal to the program’s success. They will work closely with DeLozier, who heads up the firm’s executive search practice.

To learn more, contact Patrick DeLozier at patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com or Elliott Dowling at edowling@usga.org.

 

About the USGA

The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Associations, Research and Test center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.

 

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities. We are dedicated to helping owners, asset managers, club and community leaders, investors and real estate developers tackle challenges, achieve objectives, and maximize asset performance.

Established in 1992 as the KPMG Golf Industry Practice, our global team of experienced professionals leverage in-depth business intelligence and proprietary global data to deliver impactful strategic solutions and lasting success. GGA Partners has offices in Toronto, Ontario, Phoenix, Arizona, Bluffton, South Carolina, and Dublin, Ireland. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

Executive Search: Director of Finance at Chattanooga Golf & Country Club

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
CHATTANOOGA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Chattanooga, TN

 

The Club:

Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, the oldest course at its original site in Tennessee, was founded in 1896. Located on the banks of the Tennessee River at the end of the old Riverview trolley line, the Club was formed only eight years after the opening of the first golf course in the United States.

The Club honors this heritage by holding itself to the most elite standards and offering one of the finest golfing experiences in the region. The historic riverside golf course was designed by world renowned Scottish architect Donald Ross in the 1920’s, enhanced back to its original design by Bill Bergin in 2005, and the bent grass greens were converted to ultra-dwarf Bermuda just a few years ago.

The golf experience features a yearlong calendar of exciting events, clinics, and tournaments for men and women, private lessons, and a very successful junior program. Consistently ranked Top 5 in the state by Golf Digest, the course has been the site of many prestigious tournaments at the local, state and national level.

CGCC’s 58,000 square foot Tudor-style facility offers members and their families a beautiful retreat and is perfect for all types of gatherings. The Club features three full-service dining rooms, five banquet rooms, superior service, and quality food which have earned Chattanooga Golf and Country Club recognition as the top club in the area and one of the finest in the Southeast.

Members enjoy family dining at the Fairway Grill which is open every evening and is hugely popular for its Wednesday Family Pasta Night, a create-your-own pasta extravaganza. The Overlook Grill is named for its incredible views of the Tennessee River and spectacular mountain vistas with the Overlook Deck serving as a beautiful place to enjoy a special meal.

For adult members. the Tap in Tavern features a great selection of local and craft beers along with an award-winning selection of unique and rare bourbons. Trivia Thursdays, wine tastings, craft beer nights, and bourbon tastings are always popular events scheduled throughout the year.

CGCC’s $9M nationally-recognized pool was featured on the cover of the 2017 Club & Resort Business Magazine. This multi-generational resort style pool has a zero-entry splash pool section for young children, a waterslide, basketball hoop, Pool Bistro, and lane pool for lap swimming and swim meets for the CGCC Wavemakers swim team. The separate adult oasis features a refreshing lounge pool, soft seating, multiple shade areas, and The Oasis Bar which offers frozen cocktails, lunch and dinner with members’ favorite sports on the big screen TVs.

The CGCC fitness center offers a personalized health experience tailored to all types of bodies and goals. It is fully equipped with the latest technology in treadmills, cardio, and stationary bikes along with a large selection of free weights, strength and stretching equipment. A child-minding facility ensures that members in all phases of life are able to stay active in group classes including yoga, Pilates, spin, barre, personalized training, and a certified TPI program for advanced and specialized golf fitness.

Over the last 100 years, Chattanooga Golf and Country Club has witnessed the Great Depression, two world wars, economic upheavals, which have challenged its existence. The Club has always proven to be a place where members return to feel at home, self-evident in the Club’s currently full membership and strong waitlist. With an exceptional staff and a course rivaled by few, Chattanooga Golf and Country Club has been and will continue to be a step above the rest.

Chattanooga Golf & Country Club Overview

 

  • 800 members (Golf: 580, Other: 220)
  • Initiation Fee (Resident Member Golf: $36,500)
  • Annual Dues (Golf: $8,040)
  • $4M Annual Dues Volume
  • $8.3M Gross Volume
  • $3.60M Gross Payroll
  • Average age of members is 56

The Director of Finance Position:

The Club is seeking an accomplished Director of Finance who will report to the Chief Operating Officer/General Manager.

The DOF manages the financial operations of the Club, supervises the accounting functions, and provides analytical support to the COO/GM, Board of Directors, Finance Committee, and others for planning, budgets, and solutions to business problems.

The DOF recommends, implements, and maintains the Club’s financial plans and policies, its accounting practices, fiscal records, and the preparation of financial reports. The Director of Finance makes decisions in accordance with Club policy on administrative or operational matters and ensures the operations’ effective achievement of objectives.

The Director of Finance will be responsible for the following:

> Recommend and implement policies to control and coordinate accounting, auditing, budgets, taxes and related activities and records; develop, establish, and administer procedures and systems pertaining to financial matters. Responsible for the Club’s internal controls and compliance to same.

Prepare financial statements, forecasts, and analysis for all administrative and managerial functions. Maintain all accounting records; develop, analyze, and interpret statistical and accounting information.

> Manage the annual audit.

> Evaluate operating results for costs, revenues, budgets, policies of operation, trends, and increased profit possibilities. Attends monthly finance committee meetings to provide the committee a report of the monthly and year-to-date Club finances.

> Responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of all accounting and information systems support; for the administration, management, and maintenance of the equipment systems employed in the collection of information and for the training and supervision of staff related, but not limited, to the Administration department.

> Development, analysis, and interpretation of statistical and accounting information in order to appraise operating results in terms of profitability, performance against budget, and other matters bearing on the fiscal soundness and operating effectiveness of the organization.

> Responsible for evaluating the performance of several personnel in the Administration department. This individual recommends training requirements, has the duty to keep the staff at the highest level of skill necessary to meet Club needs and objectives.

> Establishes major economic objectives and policies for the Club and prepares reports that outline the Club’s financial position in the areas of income, expenses, and earnings based on past, present, and future operations.

> Coordinates and directs the preparation of the budget, business plan, and financial forecasts; institutes and maintains other planning and control procedures; and analyzes and reports variances. The Club performs in a fiscal year beginning October 1 of each year.

> Responsible for tax planning and compliance with all federal, state, and local corporate, payroll, and other applicable taxes.

> Furnishes internal reports, revises, and updates reports to be more useful and efficient, and furnishes external reports as necessary.

> Evaluates and recommends insurance coverage for protection against property losses and potential liabilities.

Candidate Profile:

 

  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, with a concentration in accounting.
  • Five to seven years of professional accounting experience with at least two years as Controller, not-for-profit experience is an asset.
  • Excellent management, leadership, analytical, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to design and implement a control reporting system. Experience in systems integration, flowcharting, documentation, and key control analysis required.
  • Experience overseeing the information technology operation and electronic data transfer between systems. Currently the Club uses Jonas Software.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures or governmental regulations.
  • Knowledge and understanding of retirement plans and benefit programs.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available November 30, 2020.

Salary & Benefits:

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.

Inquiries:

IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit résumés along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by Friday, December 18, 2020.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Chattanooga DOF Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Chattanooga DOF Resume”) respectively to: patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com. Please email résumé with references.

 

Lead Search Executive
Patrick DeLozier, Director
GGA Partners
(501) 258-2911
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

 

For more information about Chattanooga Golf & Country Club, please visit chattanoogagcc.org.

Four HR Questions Club Boards Should Be Asking

When was the last time your club audited its human resources? Alignment between a club’s strategy and its employee offering is essential in order to enhance the overall club lifestyle, culture, and experience for members and staff.

To determine whether it’s time to reexamine culture, Partner Derek Johnston lays out 4 questions private club boards should be asking. 


Among the most reverberant takeaways from the coronavirus pandemic is the importance of people to businesses. Global business leaders and executives at leading corporations have indicated that the shift toward talent as the most important source of corporate value has continued. The pandemic also seems to be leading an increasing number of talent-forward companies to take an “employees first” approach.

But this is nothing new for large-scale global businesses. Indeed, the third week of August marked the one-year anniversary of the influential Business Roundtable’s statement on corporate purpose – which puts employees, customers, their communities, and the environment on a par with shareholders.

“Human resources” is trending

It’s also nothing new for club businesses. Our continuous research on club industry trends has shown human resource management and labor challenges to be a persisting trend, one which club managers have reported to be rising in importance – before the coronavirus.

In 2019, human resources was ranked the 6th most-impactful private club trend (out of 27) in a global survey of club managers. And, in a separate Canadian club industry survey, it was identified as both a key risk and primary hurdle to modernizing club management while topping the list of areas which managers say are under-supported from an education standpoint.

The early-pandemic question as to whether COVID-19 impacts would accelerate the business community’s move to stakeholder capitalism, or slow it down as companies focus on short-term financial pressures, seems to have answered itself.

For clubs, the people-related challenges previously reported by managers have exacerbated, with topics like employee willingness to work, labor anxiety, staff recruitment and turnover emerging as key strategic questions which club leaders are currently wrestling.

Widespread COVID-19 impacts like club closures, layoffs, and furloughs certainly haven’t helped ease concerns. With significant changes afoot in staffing, retention, human resource availability, and operational adaptations, clubs are presented with a unique opportunity right now – the chance to reevaluate and perhaps reset their culture.

Got culture?

In clubs, culture IS governance. Sound governance is a strategic imperative primarily because it enables, supports, and nurtures effective strategy. And, as the Peter Drucker saying goes, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

This is extremely important for club leaders.

It’s important because it means that no matter how strong a club’s strategic plan is, its efficacy will be held back by team members, staff, and employees if they don’t share the proper culture.

When the breaks are going against the business, as they are for some right now, the people implementing the club’s plan are the ones that make all the difference. While strategy defines direction and focus, culture is the habitat in which strategy lives or dies.

Now is the perfect time to reexamine your club’s culture to ensure staff square rightly with the club’s strategy. In other words, to ensure that your people are the best fit for accomplishing the club’s goals and objectives. Someone who was right for a specific role pre-pandemic may not be right for the same role now. Your business has changed, and some people may need to change too, either themselves or their roles.

How can club leaders reexamine culture?

The first place to start is by understanding what you’re currently doing for employees. Club leaders require a comprehensive understanding of the club’s current approach to human resource management so that they can determine the alignment of people and culture with the club’s goals.

When was the last time the club audited its human resources approach, policies, procedures, and performance? Ensuring alignment between the club’s strategy and its employee offering is essential in order to enhance the overall club lifestyle, culture, and experience for members and staff.

To help you get started, here are four HR questions private club boards should be asking:

1. How does our current organizational structure sit relative to best practice and what recent COVID-related changes should we make permanent or revisit?

Review your club’s current organizational structure, including both employees and contract workers, against best practice structures at comparable clubs locally, nationally, and globally. This review should focus special attention on the roles and responsibilities of human resources within the organizational structure with the goal of highlighting key gaps or divergences from best practice. Often times in clubs, an overly flat organizational structure tends to create ‘siloes’ that breed inefficiencies and bloat staffing levels.

2. Are we both efficient and competitive in the compensation and benefits afforded to employees?

Complete a comprehensive benchmarking exercise which compares compensation and benefit levels of all key staff and for the club as a whole to comparable clubs and other businesses with whom you compete for talent. The focus of this exercise should go beyond salary and hourly wages, factoring in relevant club financial and operating data, benefits packages, member and employee feedback scores, and other market-related information.

The goal is to identify current and accurate reference points for evaluating current compensation and benefits against best practice. There is a high degree of likelihood that there are opportunities in your current compensation and benefits structure to better align incentives and shift compensation to top talent, which tends to support increased productivity and reduced head count.

3. Are our personnel positioned to help us achieve the club’s goals and objectives? Are we helping them achieve theirs?

Assess your club’s performance tracking and review processes. The goal here is to analyze current performance evaluation processes and procedures to ensure alignment with the club’s overarching goals. This requires the board and executive committee to have a focused, clear, and comprehensive understanding of the club’s mission, vision, core values, and objectives.

For maximum benefit, to both member and employee satisfaction, it is incredibly important that performance is measurable and incentivized. The trick is determining the right way to track and measure performance and tie it to the right incentive.

4. Are our staff equipped with the tools they need to succeed? Are they empowered to do so?

Evaluate your club’s current recruiting, onboarding, training, and ongoing relational efforts. This will likely require management meetings and staff interviews to learn about the current approach and unearth any ideas or recommendations your team may have to suggest.


The success of every private club is dependent on the quality of their staff. Recruiting the best talent, integrating them into the envisioned culture, training them for success, ensuring their satisfaction, and ultimately retaining them is an important goal. The outcome from which tends to have a positive financial impact on the club and on the member experience.

After all, an investment in people is an investment in culture and clubs will benefit from this investment.

Members Worried About Their Club’s Financial Health; Say Their Return Contingent on Safe Conditions

Members Worried About Their Club’s Financial Health;
Say Their Return Contingent on Safe Conditions

TORONTO (August 11, 2020) – Private club members are worried about their club’s financial well-being in the aftermath of the global pandemic, and only 27% expect operations to revert to the way they were before the challenges imposed by the coronavirus.  But most say they will retain their membership if their club holds the line on dues increases, maintains the quality of its facilities, and makes returning to the club safe for themselves and their families.

Those were among the findings of a survey of private golf club members conducted by GGA Partners, an international consulting firm and advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts and residential communities.  The study was conducted among members of U.S. and Canadian private clubs with survey participants averaging 12 years of club membership.

Survey respondents were not optimistic about their club’s financial position with 71% saying they expect a decline in the financial health of their club. Fifty percent cited current economic conditions and 42% said a drop in member spending would lead to the decline, which 20% predicted would be “significant.”

In response to downward financial pressures, members expect their clubs to adapt operationally rather than financially by scaling back high-touch areas of operations to simultaneously reduce operating costs and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Rather than increasing revenue through dues or membership growth, almost three-quarters of members would prefer their club make near-term, operational changes – including reducing dining operations (61%) and administrative expenses.

Despite the multiple ways their lives have been affected by the pandemic, roughly four in five members report either an increase in importance or no change in the club’s importance in their lives. Friendships, the quality of amenities and recreational activities were cited as factors driving the club’s importance. Twenty-one percent say the club’s importance has diminished because of the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not negatively impacted the relevance of the club in the lives of most private club members.  If anything, its importance has been reinforced,” said Henry DeLozier, a partner in the Toronto-based firm.  “Together these results suggest that the importance and relevance of their club experience are strengthened during emotionally challenging times.”

When asked how they would (or have) approached returning to their club in the wake of the coronavirus, 39% said they would (or have) returned without any restrictions imposed by the club.  However, 61% said their return was contingent on certain conditions: 50% said they would return if social distancing was maintained and government guidelines enforced; 11% were more hesitant, saying they would not return until the club had been operational “without issues” for a trial period or until rigorous virus testing capabilities were implemented or a vaccine were available.

Members said they also would consider leaving their clubs if dues increases exceeded typical annual hikes (50%) and the club’s facilities deteriorated (41%).

“The good news for club operators is that scaling back operations, reducing services and limiting access to amenities and activities – essential maneuvers to safely and responsibly navigate a virus-plagued social environment – are unlikely to cause significant membership attrition,” DeLozier said.

 

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities.  We are dedicated to helping owners, asset managers, club and community leaders, investors and real estate developers tackle challenges, achieve objectives, and maximize asset performance.

Established in 1992 as the KPMG Golf Industry Practice, our global team of experienced professionals leverage in-depth business intelligence and proprietary global data to deliver impactful strategic solutions and lasting success.

For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

 

Contact

Henry DeLozier
Partner, GGA Partners
602-739-0488
henry.delozier@ggapartners.com

Rob Hill
Partner, GGA Partners
+353 86 68 12 744
rob.hill@ggapartners.com

Winter is Coming…

Amidst the euphoria of clubs reopening, EMEA Partner Rob Hill encourages club leaders to look beyond 2020 and plan now to do all they can to maintain those gains, because starting this winter, 2021 is going to bring a whole new challenge.

Numerous UK golfing bodies, clubs and media are understandably enjoying the moment – citing a considerable spike in membership interest and lauding the industry’s resurrection as reason for celebration.

Amidst the euphoria, club leaders would do well to look beyond 2020 and plan now to do all they can to maintain those gains, because starting this winter, 2021 is going to bring a whole new challenge.

The Bank of England has warned that the UK faces its deepest recession since 1709 and the OECD forecasts that the UK will suffer the worst recession in the developed world.

Thus far, the true state of the UK labour market has been disguised by wage subsidies covering 9.1m jobs – a scheme coming to an end in October this year.

GGA Partners Research (A Member’s Perspective, 2020) signals that 43% of private club members expect their disposable income will decline over the next 12 months, while 58% believe their overall consumer spending will also decline.

This new economic environment will first focus its wrath on the 8% of clubs in the UK and Ireland that classify their current cash position as ‘Critical’. It will swiftly sweep through the further 29% that classify theirs as ‘Concerning’.

As far as the COVID effect on member attitudes to returning to use their club, 11% of members signal that they are hesitant, would not return until the Club had been operational ‘without issues’ for a trial period, until rigorous virus testing capabilities or even a vaccine is available. This is particularly applicable to the 70’s+ age group (A Member’s Perspective, 2020), leading to a likely detrimental impact on this demographic’s perceived value for money and relevance.

A study carried out by the English Golf Union as it then was in 2008, identified in the first year of that recession, almost 1/2 of all clubs experienced a decline in membership numbers with “the most significant decrease in the 22-44 age group” – a reflection of the age group that gets hit hardest in an employment downtown. It’s reasonable to assume this trend will be repeated.

By all means enjoy re-opening, celebrate the new demand and interest in the game and membership, and the first profitable quarter for f&b departments in recent memory! But remember what you’re experiencing now isn’t the new normal. That’s coming this winter and it is the responsibility of club leaders to prepare their organisations for the next cycle NOW.

This means addressing any governance weaknesses that may hinder nimble and difficult decision-making. Following proven guiding principles to protect the club’s overall financial health. Protecting the condition of club assets and exploring opportunities for investing in enhancements which will broaden relevance and appeal. Investing in people and their education to deliver efficient and outstanding member and visitor experiences. Investing in a membership retention plan with an emphasis on value, NPS, socialisation, and safety, and investing in an appropriate brand management strategy so that values are communicated effectively to both internal and external audiences.

If you have an interest in reading insights from my colleagues and research from our extraordinary team at GGA Partners, I encourage you to go to ggapartners.com/insights where you can also sign up to receive releases of interest.

A Member’s Perspective: The Shifting Private Club Landscape

New GGA Partners Research Report Highlights Private Club Members’ Perspective on COVID-19 Impact

More than 6,300 private club members share their attitudes toward the club industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they expect clubs to respond. Now available for download.

TORONTO, Ontario – GGA Partners – international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities – has released the results of a global research survey of more than 6,300 private club members across six countries on four continents.

The research, which incorporates clubs in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and China, measures the attitudes and preferences of private club members on club operations and finance in the wake of the COVID-19 global health crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the private club landscape in many ways and these research findings offer insight into the near-future ripple effects with which club leaders must reckon,” explained Derek Johnston, a Partner in the firm. “As an industry advisor for trends shaping private club strategy, our team at GGA Partners is doing all that we can to help club leaders navigate the crisis and strengthen their understanding of how to react and adapt in order to meet the morphing needs and expectations of members.”

Overall results are encouraging; members feel highly positive about the crisis-management performance of their clubs and indicate that the importance of “the Club” in their lives has not been negatively impacted by the pandemic, but rather reinforced.

“In terms of correlation, the more effectively clubs have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the more important they became in the lives of members,” stated Ben Hopkinson, Director Client Success and Sales at GGA Partners.  “Together, these results suggest that, for members, the importance and relevance of their club experience is strengthened during emotionally challenging times.”

However, despite the enduring importance of the club in their lives, members’ high-level economic outlook over the next 12 months is more somber: 43% expect their disposable income to decrease and 58% believe their overall consumer spending will as well.  Perhaps most disheartening is members’ outlook on how their club’s financial position will change: 71% envisage a decline, with 20% characterizing the anticipated decline as ‘significant’.

In response to anticipated downward financial pressures, members expect their clubs to adapt operationally by scaling back certain high-touch areas of operations to simultaneously reduce club operating costs and the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  The extent of operational changes is predicted to be moderate in nature – only 12% of participants envision changes characterized as ‘significant’ or ‘drastic’.

The majority of private club members indicate their understanding of the need for operational adaptions to reduce costs, showing stronger support for changes which reduce service offerings and availability than those which increase their cost to belong.

The good news for club operators is the implication that operational scale-backs, service reductions, and restricted/limited access to amenities and activities – essential maneuvers to safely and responsibly navigate a virus-ridden social environment – are unlikely to cause significant membership attrition.  The tough news is that increasing dues beyond the norm – or allowing the value and quality of club amenities to diminish – just might push members away in the short-term.

According to Patrick DeLozier, Director at GGA Partners, constant evolutions in the COVID-19 pandemic place enhanced pressure on the planning capabilities of club leaders.  “It’s really a day-to-day for managers,” he said. “The stop-and-start reality of new case development and safety protocols requires club managers to have up-to-date information and the support of very sound research and data to work through challenges with the club’s board of directors.”

This means that club leaders need to have a plan for what they’re going to do next as the situation evolves quickly and unexpectedly. “The need for data-driven analysis, diligent financial monitoring, and a prepared communications strategy is more prevalent than ever,” DeLozier clarified.  “To sustain forward-thinking, club leaders need to have a ‘Plan C’ for the ‘Plan A’.  Pandemic-related changes are so rapid that, if you can’t adapt quickly, you’re well behind the eight ball.”

These results and more are detailed in a report titled A Member’s Perspective: The Shifting Private Club Landscape, now available for download.

Click here to download the report and see the findings

 

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities.  We are dedicated to helping owners, asset managers, club and community leaders, investors and real estate developers tackle challenges, achieve objectives, and maximize asset performance.

Established in 1992 as the KPMG Golf Industry Practice, our global team of experienced professionals leverage in-depth business intelligence and proprietary global data to deliver impactful strategic solutions and lasting success.

For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

 

Contact

Bennett DeLozier
GGA Partners
602-614-2100
bennett.delozier@ggapartners.com

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